Home insurance appraisal bill may not advance after Iowa tornadoes

It’s not clear whether Iowa lawmakers will advance a bill that critics said will make…

It’s not clear whether Iowa lawmakers will advance a bill that critics said will make it harder for homeowners to successfully make insurance claims for damage caused by natural disasters like the tornadoes that swept through the state on Saturday.

The bill would limit the appraisal process used in disputed claims to only determining the cost of the damage to the home. Appraisers would no longer be able to determine what caused the damage.

Critics said that would force more Iowans to go to court to have their claims resolved, rather than using the appraisal process, which is typically faster and cheaper.

More:8 family members huddled in a pantry as a tornado approached. Only 4 survived.

The measure, House File 2299, passed the Iowa House unanimously in late February, but it drew fierce opposition from insurance adjusters and Iowa homeowners at a subcommittee meeting Monday, and the meeting’s chair said it might not advance.

“My intent is either we have an amendment and we hold a second subcommittee by Monday or this is going to be dead for this session,” said Sen. Zach Nunn, R-Bondurant.

“At this point, I don’t see enough information to move it forward,” he added.

Brittany Lumley, a lobbyist for the Iowa Insurance Institute, said a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court case expanded the appraiser’s role. She said the bill would restore Iowa’s law to the way it previously worked.

“The process will work the same,” she said at the subcommittee. “It’s just making sure that the appraisers stick to the loss and the cost of the damage as opposed to the coverage causation disputes.”